Monday, January 21, 2008

Decontextualised

An new trend has emerged in Japan, according to the New York Times, which is the text message novel: originally written on mobile phones, then uploaded to dedicated websites, and subsequently, in some cases, published in the real world, the country of purists which produced the first novel now has text message novels taking up 50% of its annual bestselling novel list.

I was astonished by the justification of one of the protagonists: 21 year old Rin, who sold 400,000 copies of her first novel, said that ordinary novels were not attractive to members of her generation because the sentences are too difficult to understand, the expressions are intentionally wordy and the stories are not familiar.

I can't resist the temptation to say that this is, surely, part of the point of the novel, and at the risk of sounding harsh, you have to conclude that Rin and her generation are simply illiterate.

6 comments:

Grande Poobah said...

love it! i shall immediately publish my opus of texts largely related to taking cabs.... 400K copies!? bring it on....

you realise that you might turn into the modern day equivalent of the poor yet noble artist starving in a garret yet sticking to your principles, whilst the likes of Rin will be dancing straight to the bank with her ill gotten, morally bankrupt gains.....

Grande Poobah said...

http://lagrandepoobah.blogspot.com/2008/01/cruising-for-piece-of-fun-hanging-out.html

there's definitely a market!

Anonymous said...

http://www.amazon.com/Telemachus-Memoirs-Immortal-Robert-Thieblot/dp/0965946509/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1203551813&sr=1-1

781 pages. Bring it on!

LottieP said...

Thank you for the recommendation, Anonymous. I shall put Telemachus alongside Gibbon's Decline and Fall and Ulysses as books I must read this year.

Scumgrief said...

400,000 copies that sounds like fun.

Rin's generation is like all generations, we think they are ignorant. They just don't show how they are smart.

LottieP said...

Thanks for your comment, Scumgrief. You might be right, I am certainly dismissing this SMS-novel as a waste of time without really looking in to it. However, selling 400,000 copies is no indicator of quality. In my imagining, this is page 1:

Miffstar: hi how r u

Hello Pity: hi i am k

Miffstar: gr8 don't be l8

and so on, and so forth. Not sure how it would be possible to show you're smart in this format. And simple illiteracy is no basis for linguistic evolution, right?